Monday, 12 December 2016

What has happened

The last few months have been a busy time so busy something had to slip and it was the Blog ,I choose to post on our Face book page Photos and a quick message it  was easier and and kept many informed. I hope live is coming back to a speed I can handle  as I have missed my time in Blog world.
What did happen well Lots some good and some very sad (all I ask is you pray for healing ) . Many think I have the best job in the world driving round this awesome state  western area and that is so true, but! life has some ups and downs, God allows me to be part of both the ups and the downs that is what a relationships is all about. Good news 

Rain rain and more rain 
Rivers flowed (The Castlereagh River)

and even rained on the harvest trucks

But the harvest has  been good to excellent in many areas across "the State best for many years"is the term being used. "But always a But" the price is low, but they are getting their first crop for many years .   I took a weekend off to head to the coast to visit my old Church BUT ! again as you can see it did not happen.  

The smell and lack of speed then smoke  told me O it is not well, so I found safe place to stop and did a quick  check water oil van belts  then rang NRMA and found myself in the cab of a big tilt tray  heading home thanks Walcah NRMA dept  great service and the young man who drew the short straw drove me home and we had a great yarn . (well I did)
I got car back a week  later new clutch .


The strip I use to show how dry it is at Cryon NSW has crop and the Slat Bush has

come back to Life as shown above it is looking great.  I have spent a lot of time  with those grieving also with families in trouble as this good crop has come to late for them.  It is hard to be down when others are doing well the rain has changed a lot of things and for some the sense we are all in this together has gone.  Don't get me wrong there is a sense of community  still but also for some feelings  of  isolation  in their plight. Christmas is coming for some this will be a time of celebration if they have had payment  for Crop otherwise  it like the last 3 years.  Rain is not money crop is not money till it is paid for and bills paid.  But it is hope grain for next crop  ground moisture to grow the next crop and the grass. Blessings have come for many other still need another year or so till life can become normal as I write this a call for  support for a number of farming families . I also worked in a Q fever vaccination  program for farmers in Walgett area we got workers from local meat works too.  It was a good place to engage with  farmers and their families as we waited for  the next stage BP test, Talk to Doctor blood test then back in 7 days to get results and then if clear have your vaccination  that part hurt  yes I joined the whole process as I was told I hang round with them and their animals (I did not sign up for that) . Lastly I took time to do some team building at House of Shalom Carcoar  leading us across bridges

Below is the how the Girilambone Shy looked as I pulled in to  town ready for school presentation night, last year the sky looked a little like this but nothing happen.

This year well we can't say the same the sky  exploded to see more go to  our Face Book page to say I just washed my car and fitted new windscreen, but the full power of nature was shown unleashed .

due to commitments of my editors I did added some my own edit.  Well I found the words I left out and the comers plus added some of the clean keys  marks  enjoy Blessings 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Murrumbidgee Valley trip

The Murrumbidgee River in high Flow  
As we started so we finished with a river system in flood many areas of our trip had it highest rain fall for many years. The tour of the Murrumbidgee Valley open us to a view of the diversity  of this rich area Farming Horticulture Viticulture and Tourism. We drove pass dry land farms massive irrigation  channels Historic houses plus visited a Zoo  that was breeding may endangered spices  of wild animals and a fish hatchery and watched the milking of eggs from  endangered fish to reintroduce them to the river system.


We Traveled From Wagga to Tumut for church  back to Wagga for church and forum then headed out to  then down stream to Balranaled. staying at Narrandera for 2 nights  Coleambally UCA Lunch  1 nights touring round farms and a forum at bowling Club  ,Griffith 2 nights , Hay 2 nights visiting Lockhart  Darlington point Zoo,  Gunbar for church M/T onto Hillston and a tour of district farms +lunch we also had lunch at Coolaman UCA gave us lunch on way home do you see a trend drive eat drive eat it was light lunches (right).  For me a many others on the bus we all  felt the warmth  of the small churches was awesome not just the food but the welcome . Also the local businesses were happy for our use of their service from food shops  coffee shops  motels local papers too.  Visiting the different farmers and tourist (museum/old homes) they too gave us a good picture of life in their district over the years some face both church and local volunteers  this is common in most Small Country towns a sense of mission or community is there a difference as they are known as members of the church in the town seeing them in a dual roll is a good message, same as a group like us touring to hear the voices in the bush . Our role is to bring it back and tell their story to our City sisters and brothers the high and a lows for them.        

Hillston UCA congregation  and tour group .

out the front Gunbar church 
View from the front street 
Setting up Forum at Colly Bowling Club
I think for me the meeting of local farmers and community members in their own grown not have them come to the church  gave us more honest open feedback from them but also many where blown away that we had come to listen not to tell them ! Not them being told what was happening  I learnt a lot but also found that common threads  running across those we have talked to on the upper Murray River I look forward to doing the bottom of the system to hear the stories
I like to thank all the congregations who looked after us as we past through often late due to our busy program and Coffee stops as always this is too big for one post so will leave you with a view from a look out just out of Lockhart  Galore Hill this gave us a great view of the country across the Valley check our "Face book" page for more Pictures of this trip plus "Insights" is doing  a story in next month be a good read

I am hopefully off to Quombone for the Quombone Camp Oven Cook Off this weekend planed for June but rain stopped play. Pray for farmers hit by flood now after 3-4 years of drought  crop under water and stock dying  from being bogged and other complaints  Thank you for your prayers and support till next time.
Rev Phill
Rural Chaplain

Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Darling River Runs

The Bourk Weir on the 7 September 2016

We being myself Lou and Rev Jo Smalbil had driven to Bourke for BBQ as most of the sites in Cobar had closed roads. Seeing the water flow after our last trip was a joy to behold . The river looks much the same at North Bourke  bridge where we had our lunch so I took them to the Weir,

Down stream from Bourke Weier

The top side of Bourke Weir

This has been, as you all know a good winter for rain, but we need in many areas some dry warm sunny days to allow crops to dry their feet. Other wise they may rot in the ground and same for stock as they too get foot rot . But the country is beautifully green and yellow, with the rivers and creeks running . As I travelled down from Narrabri  via Walgett (as I had 2 meetings there) I had to drive through numerous water on road sections, plus one detour of 20 kms, but all safe no dramers I did think I should have packed my self inflating life jacket. 

The BBQ at North Bourke

his kite kept us amused
Lou taking time to photograph the Darling  River in full flight

Well I readybmy self for the next tour meeting old friends and making new ones this river system  can change  so quikly from now on we hope to get some good follow up rain keeping crops growing rivers flowing. . But what we wont and what we get is not guaranteed but we will be hear travelling with those we have met on our mission. 
There are areas who  have flooding, that is not helpful pray for them.The  loss of stock, fencing and crops is a hardship that they do not need.
 I will post photos from the tour as and when when I can Shalom.

Friday, 15 July 2016

The Transformation New Beginnings

This is just down from my drought tree I shown I could not get that shot to wet to stop and park
I have been in the office for a few days, finding those things I had not done, read and so on. Sadly I even cleaned the office and got some file storage .  Why you ask, well it rained and rained, yippee! Roads were closed in all parts so it was safer to stay away plus those who could, started planting,  but as you see above, water is still covering lots  of areas - this water runs for about 2 ks down the roadside.

This was May 


The transformation from my drive in May, on way home from a holiday, to these shots now, is widespread, not just this one bit of road outside Cryon. I used this area to photograph as it was  one of the first roads I drove down on my first trip out three and a half years ago. The area has not had crops and has looked the same but now it has got growth, life in hope, of a new beginning.  great start but

The rain washes out or drowns the seed 

The green colour of life is been gone for 3 years or more in some areas  "LOOKS GOOD"
So my work is done, I wish!, what is my focus ? I have met with the Walgett DPI worker and a Rural Financial Councilor  and other service providers, I raised the need to look at holding those networks we have built over last 3 years,but we have lost so many of the service providers as funding ended on 30th June. This has left a gap, if we can  build on what they did , question will it work without the free lunch. I hopping the relationships  grown over this time may give us a way to build a network of locals communities growing there capacity on there own from what they have discovered  by engaging in different workshops. This would mean as time moves on any other event (flood drought fire ) in to the future they will have the network to face these disaster together using their connections with each other and those local service workers . I also look forward to how these relationships continue to grow conversations based on faith and Spirituality  as I share my faith in the every day .We also are finding those who in the start up will need some help as they buy the seed and stock, they will still need to  eat educate  care for their family. Standing by the relationships after the others services have been pulled out  God cares beyond the program time line.  Till next time thanks for your support and your prayers they were answered this trip.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Moderators visit to The Lower Darling

Wentworth at the Murray Darling Junction

The Moderator, Rev Myung Hwa Park has a great passion for the well being of the people living along the river systems of NSW and the health of the rivers. The purpose of this visit was to identify what the current situation is, what is causing the problems, how they may be rectified and what we as a Church may be able to do to assist. This information was forth coming from individuals and community consultations as we traveled through the river system. The group was also made up of  Lou Smalbil Cobar Nyngan Patrol ( who wrote this report and took Photos *)  Lisa Samson Media and Fundraising Manager  Paul Creek MDB tours.

Tuesday 7th – departed Coleambally travelling to Wentworth, to speak to a local  landowner in regards to the health of the Darling River and the current issues on the land. We continued onto Pooncarie, where we met up with Pastor David Shrimpton (Broken Hill Flying Patrol), and  met with locals over dinner.
 Wednesday 8th – departed Pooncarie travelled to “Bono station” for consultation with land owner, continued onto Menindee and held a meeting with local water users and Aboriginal Elders. We continued on to “Bindara station” to speak to local landowner and spend the night


Above Photos:The Moderator Rev Myung Hwa Park  walking and talking to David Shripmton plus the Meeting at Menindee Uniting Church                                     

Some feed back spoken too on the visit 

Landowners are having to cart water in to service their needs and this comes as a further cost, over and above the cost of holding a water allocation, which at the moment does not have any water to provide.                                                  Landowners are also facing the need to sink bores to provide them with much needed water and this can be very costly and risky.

Landowners/house owners are very conscious of the need to wet the soil around their homes to ensure the ground does not become that dry that the house footings no longer can perform their task.
1.    The Aboriginal “Barkindji” people (people of the river) say the Darling River is dying and their culture is suffering. The Barkindji people have a strong spiritual connection to the “Barka” or Darling River and the surrounding land, it links them to their families, their story and their culture. 

Photos : Darling River in the Menindee to Pooncarie area.

What can we as a Church do?

I believe as a Church we cannot take sides in this debate, however we can offer our support and pray for those who are suffering through this difficult time. We can do our best to make people of position (politicians, media and local government) aware of the plight of those people who are doing it tough and may possibly lose their livelihood or their culture.

Louis Smalbil
Assistant Chairperson                 
Macquarie Darling Presbytery

The Moderator points to the Junction of the Murray Darling River

* The Blog this week comes from a report written by  Louis Smalbil and thanks for  his great Photos ,

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Looking Good

Happy as cows in grass! 
I left early; it was dark and 'roos were hopping in the the flood water that was bringing life to the Pilliga as the sun came up.   The daylight showed the extent of the last couple of heavy rain events. There was a drover camped along the road close to Coonamble; the green pick was transforming the landscape and hopefully changing the story for the farmers in the region. My big question was "What about Coonamble, Quambone, Walgett and The 'Ridge?"
The lake with storm clouds still hanging round 

Quambone / Coonamble Road  - YES! Look at that water! Oops, I can't swim.

"Will I get through?" I asked myself "Or should I go through the low side?" The water was only shallow - you could see the hard base of the road so I went forward.  I did have a job getting through though, not just tack shots as much fun as it was!  A photo opportunity I missed was a tank that was part of the lake-like picture. ("Tank" is a name used for a dam because of the high walls.) Unfortunately I had no place to park up there. As I arrived at the above crossing, 3 road trains came through. I tried to get my camera out to take a photo of the last truck but missed out!  The front water on the photo is what he pushed up.  I heard the truck driver comment to his mates on the CB radio that I looked a bit worried.  I came back "No, just taking photos.  Going now." A few moments later he called in "You get through, mate?" I replied "Yes thanks".

I got to the hall at Quambone where 25 people had turned up for 2 days of "Mental Health First Aid".  This course is like normal first aid, only dealing with the different mental illnesses and how you can help.  I attended as a Chaplain in case any of the subjects touched raw spots emotionally for people, or brought up unwanted memories.  I've attended similar courses over the last few years.  It was a good mix of people from Quambone, from Coonamble High School and from other Services.  The course was held at Quambone for a change as most events are usually held in Coonamble with its better halls, etc.  I stayed in town so drove the same stretch of road 4 times.
This photo is the group of people who attended the course.  I have built up a good relationship with these 2 communities over the last 2 years, but unfortunately most of the  projects and training will end on June 30th.  This is the end of drought help for farmers from the Federal Government. You may ask "has the drought ended?"  Who can say.  In some areas, yes.  But for others it will take months until the next crop is up, or the stock are back and fat, so their income is still a long way off.  But it rained!  Thank you, God, for the promise of new life.  I know I keep saying that there are still some areas suffering, but sadly there is!  Life on the land, unfortunately, is a bit like that - boom or bust, same as our water ways.         


From next Blog taken Lou Smalbil  the Lower Darling River as I said boom and bust more water on the road to Quambone than in the river ?


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Signs of Hope

Hi all so sorry for the gap in your blogs, Russell it was great to hear from you and your concern . I been on leave but before that we had to do a lot of work for Synod both before then attend the Synod (which was a great time) . But I hope to get back on track.

Lyn and I flying back home  from Queensland

The road to Winton from Longreach 
Well as I drove back from Longreach Lyn and I saw the drought in Queensland was as dire as the Walgett Lightning Ridge area of NSW.  But as we Left Bourke the Outback Radio was forecasting high rain fall over the weekend. Up beat phone calls came in with high hope's . The rain came BUT not every were plus not in the amount forecast for many but it did fall in some hi need areas which was great news for many. But as the calls came in on Local ABC 54 here 80  there then a call from Walgett 2 mls. no change in last 3 years.

Cotton Bales at the Gin in Warren below too

But yes some have seen hope for the coming season other like Cotton farmers round the area  got a good crop off over March April the bails in paddocks still waiting to go to the Gin (Gin is the place like silos the crop goes too)  .

Other good sign was farmer with big rigs planting or working the ground up spray rigs killing of the weeds . Green pick coming up in paddocks plus along the road side Long paddock so those with stock had it on the road drovers on back Warren road I think it was 3 mobs cattle plus a mob of sheep.

Signs of new life but not for everyone 

I have also done a few events that where booked in it was interesting so much more upbeat but as many say it's not $10 notes but it is a start for some a good start . Water is a very important part of our life to much and we complain not enough we blame

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Looking Forward Looking Back

Dont look back move forward into a new adventure 
The photo is of the bush tucker walk on Thursday afternoon lots of Gum leaves blowing and great fun . You slow fella  aint  you?   yep, Well, I'll walk with ya so you don't get lost, Thanks ! ( a conversation with a fella I meet on the journey )

Induction service 2013
Yes it has been 3 years from the time I first headed out as a Rural Chaplain I look forward to the next term of my placement lots of changes and I think more to come , but some things have not changed that much . Drought still eats into the lives of many on the land or those in town who supply those on the land,

These to vans are the same spot the differences.
left on Louth road , right loading for Small Schools Camp plus some farm visits along the way .

Rain Falling from Cryon

The sky's gave a promise of good things but storms fell on some missing many others the rain lifts hope, it now cooler so rain is needed before it gets too cold to grow crops or pastures .

Drought visit to Engonia CWA house

The above photo is from the drought work in 2014 is were we will be parked this week doing the Small Schools camp  small schools are the  many small towns in the Western area it may have a official name or zone but Engonia is the host this year Wanaaring Louth Weilmoringle public schools.

yes back in the old parking space at the CWA rooms Enngonia school in background
This is one of the team building games 

Knox boys helping out above early ANZAC service
To see more go to our face book page and like us there

Time moves and we find ourselves often in new places and also were we have been before.  I find in this role as Rural Chaplain that the welcome and the welcome back is warm and open. In 3 years I have been to many places over and over again others not as often but still find the contacts made with the people of the bush is lasting . Those from the Churches that have supported this vital Ministry  over the last three years and into the future  I thank you for your prayers and support in other ways on behave of those who are touch by our as your work as you are all part of it .



View My Stats